Published: March 7, 2019

In the fall, daylight saving time is often greeted with a warm welcome. However, it can be a bit more challenging to adjust to daylight saving in the spring when you lose an hour of your time. Prepare to spring forward on Sunday, March 10, with these tips.

Ease into it

Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time each day is a helpful strategy year-round. However, it can be even more beneficial during daylight saving time.

To help you prepare for the shift, practice going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for the week leading up to daylight saving. This will help your body’s internal clock adjust to the upcoming time change. When daylight saving hits, you’ll find it easier to get to bed at your normal time.

Limit your screen time

Phone and computer screens emit high levels of blue light, which can negatively impact sleep. Blue light affects your circadian rhythm and melatonin (sleep) hormone levels, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. Limit your screen time before bed or use apps that filter or block blue light to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol and snacks before bed

Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may prevent your body from relaxing naturally at night. Alcohol and food can also impact your sleep by disrupting your melatonin (sleep) hormone levels. Help your body relax and prepare for sleep by avoiding caffeine, alcohol and snacks later in the evening. If you are feeling hungry, keep your snacks small and light.

Sleep Skills workshop

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night or struggling to fall asleep, Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) offers a free Sleep Skills workshop every Monday from 3 to 4 p.m. in Wardenburg Health Center. This workshop is non-sequential, and students can join at any time. Visit CAPS in C4C N352 or call 303-492-2277 to sign up.

Take a cat nap

If you’re feeling the effects of daylight saving time, it’s okay to take a quick cat nap during the day. Just be sure to limit your naps to 20–30 minutes. Longer naps can disrupt your normal sleep patterns and leave you feeling more tired in the long run.

If you need a place to rest between classes, Health and Wellness Services has nap pods available at Wardenburg and The Rec.

Change your clocks the night before

Most smartphones and computers update the time automatically. However, there are a number of clocks that you’ll need to manually update. Consider changing the clocks in your home, including those on your microwave, oven and car, before you go to bed on Sunday, March 10. In the morning, you’ll be relieved to know all of your clocks have the correct time.

Video highlights an interview with CU Boulder Integrative Physiology Professor Ken Wright.